Potential medication breakthrough to reduce diabetes-related heart failure 28 April 2021 Researchers have found a potential treatment that could reduce heart failure and improve the quality of life for those people living with diabetes. The findings by researchers from the Monash Institute of Pharmaceutical Sciences and in collaboration with the Baker Heart and Diabetes Institute and funded by the Diabetes Australia Research Program, could help treat heart failure in vulnerable people in the future. The researchers found that diabetes-induced heart failure can be potentially treated when the proteins found in heart cells are modified following the development of heart failure. “Diabetic cardiomyopathy can’t be treated – it is a disorder of the heart muscle that can happen in people with diabetes. The heart stops circulating blood through the body properly which causes heart failure,” said Professor Rebecca Ritchie and lead corresponding author. “There is a huge unmet need in treating secondary illnesses induced by diabetes. If we can translate our study’s findings into a potential medication, we could reduce the risk of heart failure and maybe also improve survival in people with diabetes.” “We are very excited by the discovery of a potential therapeutic target which could reduce heart failure, and may improve the quality of life, for those living with diabetes.” Lead author, Dr Darnel Prakoso said they used a gene therapy to modify the proteins that are released into the blood following a heart attack. This improved the cardiac function in a pre-clinical animal model of diabetes-induced heart failure. People with diabetes are between two and four times more likely to develop heart disease. Heart disease is the number one cause of death for people with type 2 diabetes and contributes to around two-thirds of all deaths in people with diabetes. The research team is also working on understanding what triggers heart failure in people with diabetes and how it can be prevented. The study has been published in Cardiovascular Research.